Thrills of theatre brought to Lisburn & Castlereagh care facilities

August 25, 2020

Lisburn & Castlereagh City Council has partnered with the South Eastern Health & Social Care Trust, the Public Health Agency and the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, to bring socially-distanced live theatre to local care facilities. ‘The Broads’ show was performed for residents of Pond Park Care Home as the first in a series of 15 shows across Lisburn & Castlereagh facilities.

‘The Broads’ play was written by local playwright and actress, Maria Connolly, for people living in isolation. The 50-minute live musical is based on the stories of Hollywood stars Marilyn Monroe, Bette Midler and Judy Garland.

Speaking about the show, Maria Connolly said: “I had an idea a few years ago to write a play specifically for people living in isolation. These people can go for months without any human interaction, and I wanted to do something to break that loneliness. This is a time when the world desperately needs artists to bring hope, colour and change into the world.”

Chairman of the Council’s Leisure and Community Development Committee, Alderman Michael Henderson MBE said:

“It has been wonderful to see the joy this show has brought to the residents here today. We know that the Arts play a huge role in improving Mental Health and Wellbeing; this has never been more important. As the residents cannot visit indoor theatre performances, we were delighted to bring the theatre to them. The show has been a trip down memory lane, and the energy of the cast made it an uplifting and entertaining occasion for all. ‘The Broads’ cast will be on tour all this week, visiting 15 care facilities in the council area.

"I would like to thank the South Eastern Health & Social Care Trust and the Public Health Agency, for their funding support and collaboration with the Council’s Arts & Communities team, on this fantastic project.”

Ruth Johnston, Care Home Manager of Nicholson House, was thrilled with the residents’ reactions.

“On behalf of our residents, I would like to thank the Council and their partners for bringing the outdoor theatre to us. It was so lovely to see our residents happy and enjoying a musical performance right on their doorstep. Today has been such a positive and fun experience for everyone. Our residents have had the chance to reminisce about good old times and feel youthful again.”

‘The Broads’ tour will come to a close at River House, Ward 11 Dementia Unit, Lagan Valley hospital, on Saturday 29th August. For further information on the Arts, please visit www.islandartscentre.com.